We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Wissam Sabbagh”, CEO of the Beirut – Lebanon based StartUp “Mangomolo”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Mangomolo is a platform that allows broadcasters to stream personalized live and on demand content, it allows researches to do real time audience analysis on content viewership with in-depth profiling analysis, and it allows advertisers to plan and execute campaigns across the entire inventory. The edge of our platform is that it is 100% automated and eliminates all manual video uploads.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Mangomolo was founded 5 months ago and since then the system has been enhanced and updated with new features every single week. Following the launch of our Platform, we then launched our social component MangoSocial, and this week we are launching our Plug and Play VOD interface for Broadcasters MangoPlus.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Our Business Model is a SAAS, broadcasters subscribe to our platform and are charged for 3 main features: Storage Required, Bandwidth Consumed, and Modules Required.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I have worked with most of our team members in different companies, some were clients and some were colleagues and we all cooperated together and agreed that there is a lot of innovation that is missing int his growing industry that needs to be tackled. Basically the team is divided into business developers, engineers/ developers, creative and UX experts, and people with a research background.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
The reason why we stand out is that we are providing our customers with a new innovative way to tackle their video content. Our platform connects directly to the TV Grid/Schedule and automatically crops, filters, stores, and publishes content without any manual intervention. On top of that we are offering a 360 degree approach where all our clients are given one platform where they can do everything, they don’t even need to have a website, it can be generated directly from the platform itself.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
So far we have been in the market for approximately 5 months and we were able to connect with different major broadcasters who are starting to adopt our technology.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors are mainly VOD Providers like Limelight, endavo media, bright cove, youtube , etc… and our main advantage is that we have built our platform with the broadcaster in mind and every single process in the streaming cycle was modified andenhanced to make it 100% automated and easy to integrate with all TV Networks.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Our main obstacle was facilitating the switch to our platform, and the switch is never easy so we had to make sure that we make the switch a simple and quick one. To overcome this problem we built a #switchtomango component that automatically
connects to most of the competing platforms and aggregates video content into our system, the client does not need to do anything.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Coming from a Media, Engineering, and Creative background we tried to implement the knowledge from all 3 fields to build a disruptive solution that starts with the broadcaster in mind. The platform is already shaped and structured in a way that a broadcaster would understand, we use the same KPI metrics, it connects to their internal systems, meta data is similar, data structure is similar, etc…
10. Why are you going to succeed?
I am positive about the success of the platform because of the ongoing innovation that is happening at a very fast momentum. Our idea pipeline never gets shorter and the system is changing every single day to have more features, more innovation, better analytics, social integration, etc… when other suppliers are still stuck with the traditional way of serving video content.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Once our inventory of broadcasters builds up then the sky is the limit, we will be stepping into big data, advertising, content
distribution, social analytics, research, etc…
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Video is growing very quickly and the way we have access to content is changing very quickly, people want access to personalized content that makes sense to them and they want to access that whenever they want. Advertising is also changing, and research is now becoming social and based on real data rather than extrapolated figures, hence what we are trying to do is to build one solution that answers all of the above customer demands while making sure we are ahead in terms of innovation.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Its never as easy as you think it is when planning the road ahead, a lot of challenges come up once you step into the market and the catch is that you should have the knowledge, perseverance, and ambition to overcome each one and still innovate to stay one step ahead. No one will work with you if you are just another supplier in the industry, the more you innovate, automate, and answer client demands and provide solutions to their problems, the closer you are to success.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
6 months from now we expect to have much more clients adopting the technology which means more load, more data, and more risk, so the challenge is how to scale the platform in the best possible way to keep serving the increasing demand without affecting performance.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit is that we are saving our clients money, we are saving them time and manual effort, we are providing them with more data and analysis in real time, and we are giving them a better product with tens of new features. Not to mention our 24/7 customer support team and that we do not charge our clients for any system updates and additions.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Since our product is a B2B one, most of our leads were through direct sales visits and presentations. We met with every customer, understood their demands, integrated their current infrastructure into our platform and trained them on the system.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current customers are TV stations, we have around 5 TVs using our system right now and are in negotiation with around 20 new broadcasters who should adopt the technology in the next 6 months.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New customers are mainly either broadcasters who want to step into the Digital Content industry or customers who are unhappy with their current solutions or willing to investigate something new. The beauty of this industry is that as it grows , customers are asking for more innovation and features and our advantage is that we can innovate very quickly and hence cater faster to client demands and this has helped us gain a bigger market share in a shorter time.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
All our customers are impressed with the ‘ding’ we added to this industry and the approach that we have taken to facilitate their workflow and automate the process. Something one client said which i wouldn’t forget was , “Wissam, this is the best meaning of a dream come true.” because of all the time our system saved them and all the features that they were never able to get from one solution.
20. How are you going to scale?
We do have an expansion plan that is divided into 2 different sectors. One is demographic expansion where we plan to expand to new markets to reach out to more broadcasters and connect with them on a local level, and another is from a backend perspective where we plan to invest in our own Data networks to make sure the entire streaming process is handled by us even the CDN and hosting part rather than outsourcing that to third party suppliers.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
The more clients we meet, the more platforms we discover the more competitors we get to know and usually the first question would be how the migration is going to happen and then we need to dedicate a team to analyze every competitor, look into their data structure, meta data libraries, etc and build tools that can help clients migrate easily without any loss of data or downtime.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
The beauty of our platform is that its a SAAS and hence the sky is the limit in terms of what markets we can reach. We have a team of translators working on different language versions, and have built a network of franchisees / resellers who are in the broadcast industry and are interested in selling the platform on a global level.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
As a SAAS, there is absolutely no limit as to how big we can become, we have built our platform according to the highest engineering standards which makes it fully scalable and modular and hence scaling it up is a rather simple process. Through hiring the right people, building strong partnerships with key individuals, and always innovating, we believe that we have a huge opportunity to scale very quickly and move the platform from a regional product to an international one.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Looking at our ongoing growth, we are always looking to hire new people that can contribute to making this company a success. Most of our vacancies are for computer and system engineers, UX Specialists, Creative Directors, and Research Analysts/ Social Media Experts. Interested candidates can send us their CV’s to email@example.com
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
In 5 months , the business has already become self sustainable. We are always looking for key strategic partnerships but we do not want passive partners who won’t be actively involved and contribute to the product development. We are self funded and are now profitable so money is not our priority right now however we are always open for any opportunities that come up along the way. Any interested parties can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
If you have an innovative idea, leave everything and just pursue it… It will not be an easy path and there will be times where you will feel discouraged, but you need to know that every time you get that feeling you are just one step away from your next big thing, so just stick to what you believe in and keep going because success is often waiting just around the corner.